Meet the Missionaries
Katarzyna or Kasia for short was born in Poland. She was 19 years old when the Berlin wall fell. She witnessed the rising of the solidarity movement, war in 1981 and was present at the funeral of Fr. Popieluszko who was killed by government police because he encouraged the people to pray for peace and truth. It was these and other experiences such as: hidden youth camps, catechesis in the underground rooms of the parishes, underground theaters, poetry and songs, etc. that her faith became stronger. She met a Verbum Dei missionary when she was studying theology in Poland and was invited to go to Spain for a retreat. She was deeply moved by the preaching, which transmitted to her the face of the living God. She was searching for contemplation, simplicity, missionary zeal, a living experience of God and community; and there she found it. She is currently living in Chicago.
Jeanette is originally from Singapore and it was there that she met the community. She deeply enjoys the ministries of pastoral care, spiritual accompaniment as well as retreat-work. She doesn’t see her own person as a character for great crowds but rather for “homy tea-ceremonies” with small groups of people sharing about life and God. Having experienced God so alive in her on person, she believes that all human beings have the gift and right to live their life to the fullest. Jeanette is an accomplished piano player, as well in the classical trade as in improvisation and has been a delight for sisters and friends of the community in concerts or private events. She is currently a campus minister and lives in Longbeach.
Terri was born in Ohio, USA. Her father is from Puerto Rico and her mother is from Spain. She experienced God’s call as a teen and she is still excited by the adventure of following Jesus. She is convinced that he is the way, truth and life for everybody, everywhere. She grew up bilingual and discovered in the Bay Area an incredible richness of culture and diversity. She continues enjoying her ministry which includes being a teacher in a theological program in which she teaches theology to Spanish speaking adults who are often holding leadership roles in parishes in the Bay area. She is a beautiful musician that has recorded a great array of songs written by her or other members of the Verbum Dei community. Her voice is a gift ( sometimes accompanied by her own Spanish guitar playing) that many have come to appreciate over the years during her retreat work and prayer groups/ Fraternidades and few can believe it is the consequence of a self-taught artist. She is currently living in San Francisco.
Pilar is originally from Spain and has lived and worked as a missionary in the UK, Italy, Taiwan and Spain. Her greatest joy is to share with others that God is alive and is present in our lives. She is very happy to be living and ministering here in the USA, especially to the Chinese Catholics. She is currently living in San Francisco dedicating herself to the Verbum Dei Lay consecrated group - which are associated to the Verbum Dei by way of commitment to the ministry and mission, but live in their own contexts and private dwellings out of different reasons. You can see her picking pomegranates in Tracy, CA. She lives in San Francisco.
Laryn is originally from Pittsburg PA. She moved to the Bay Area in 2013 and her intention was to become a medical artist, however God interrupted and redirected everything. After a time of discernment, she desired to be a Verbum Dei missionary to help others dream with God of the huge possibilities of their lives. She continues to express her artistic talent inside of the community to enhance her work with teenagers, to beautify communal spaces and as gifts to people who cross her paths. As an amazing fine artist she creates impressions of faith in different genres often surprising even herself, but always creating an art piece that invites to think about the relevance of faith in this world. Her art reflects through her mind, body and spirit, her loving relationship with God in this world She recently came back from a year of learning Spanish, while supporting Verbum Dei communities in Peru and Ecuador.
Bella is originally from Guatemala and has been a missionary for 23 years. She gives thanks continually to God for being able to be a witness of grace in the lives of the people that have been entrusted to her. She has experienced time and time again how the living experience of the Word gives answer to the situations that people are living and helps us to enter into a close relationship with God. Each day she is more convinced of her vocation to consecrate herself fully to the ministry of the Word of God. She is currently living in San Francisco.
Sara is originally from Southampton, UK. When she was studying to become a physiotherapist, she met the Verbum Dei missionaries and began participating in their activities especially those connected with music. A few years later, she spent some time living with the Verbum Dei community in the Philippines. It was there that she felt her deepest desire to dedicate her life to God and to the ministry of the Verbum Dei as an answer to the injustices she saw in the world. Music and art play an essential part of her life in the world and in the community, who enjoy her talent and compositions. She currently works mainly in young adult ministry in the Bay Area as well as studying theology focusing in Celtic Christianity and mission today. She lives in Daly City.
Graciela was born and raised in Durango, Dgo, Mexico. She is the oldest of 7 children and immigrated with her family in 1984 at 15 years old. She met the Verbum Dei community in 1992 and since day one felt so connected with the Word of God. She told God at 26 years of age after a deep personal experience of God’s love. “Count on me, I hope to be on time, to bring your message to so many people that ignore how much they are loved, and which results in so many broken families because of this search for love.” She has experienced that in every place she has been, she has witnessed the transformation that the Word of God provokes in the heart of the people, independent of their nationality. She is currently living in Sacramento.
Milagros, serves as Evangelization Coordinator for the Office of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship in the Archdiocese of Chicago. She is responsible for advancing the Archdiocesan plan of Evangelization. Milagros has been a professed member of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity since 1991. During this time, she has worked in the area of biblical and spiritual formation of religious and lay, leading various retreats for youth and adults in Spain, Italy, Colombia, Venezuela, and the United States. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology from the Pontifical Urbanian University and a Masters in Biblical Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. She lives in Chicago.
Ann Marie met the Verbum Dei Missionary Community in 1996 while a student of Veterinary Medicine in Dublin, Ireland. This encounter with the community taught her to pray with the Word through retreats and ultimately daily prayer, enabling her to hear the voice of God in her life and a call that would lead her to give her life fully to God. She finished her formation course and took her first vows in May 2001 in San Francisco, CA. Since then, she has served as a missionary of the Word in California, New York (where she also received her Masters in Theology), in the Philippines, and Chicago. She presently resides in the Chicago community and works for the Archdiocese of Chicago as an Evangelization Coordinator in the Department of Evangelization.
Ellen, is from the picturesque area of the Mosel Valley, Germany. She has been a member of the Verbum Dei community for over 32 years and has worked in Europe, South America and the USA. Before entering religious life, she worked as a translator and business administrator and is therefore fluent in German, English, Spanish and French. Her diverse apostolic responsibilities have ranged from campus ministries, to retreat direction ministry, from initial formation director to student coordinator and counselor. She has also served her community in leadership as a provincial for the USA, as a general councilor and as the General Responsible of the Verbum Dei female branch in Rome. She recently completed her doctoral thesis in theology/spirituality about the spiritual longings and expressions in secular environments just as in lyrics of award winning pop-music. She is currently the director of the Institute for Catholic Spirituality and Spiritual Direction (ICSSD) of the Stockton Diocese and has been named the Bishop’s delegate to the religious for the Diocese of San Jose. She can be seen biking, gardening, or helping non-savvy computer users in the community!
Rocio is originally from Guadalajara Mexico. She grew up in a Catholic family and is the youngest of two brothers and five sisters. She learnt to listen to God in prayer through the Word. She discovered the Word alive, and left a call to follow Jesus. She has experienced many situations where she has witnessed that God is the only one who is able to transform it. She worked in a pharmacy for three years, and at 18 years old she felt God asking her: “What are you going to do with your life? What your parents want you to do? What you want? Or What I dream for your life?” She believed in the call that she felt from God to leave everything, to follow and to live the dream that God had for her life. She has lived as a missionary in different countries including Brazil and Portugal and is now based in Long Beach.
Reyna is originally from San Bartolome Coro, a small town in Michoacán, Mexico surrounded by water and mountains. What she most remembers of her town is the indescribable beauty of seeing the springs of new clean water every morning emerging from the depths of the earth. That explains her love for places surrounded by water which subsequently became the Pacific Ocean, since she immigrated as an adolescent to the USA with her family to Watsonville CA, a fertile land where they picked raspberries and strawberries. She enjoys her big family; Nine sisters and two brothers and fifty-four nephews and great-grandnephews to this point (still growing!). What attracted her to the Verbum Dei was the practice of the spirituality of daily life, the personal relationship with God en la vida cotidiana, and a focus on the empowerment of women in their spirituality. This was also her passion for her advanced theological degree in Systematic Theology and in her retreat work. She enjoys walks at the beach, theological discussions and really good food.
Julia was born in Dortmund, Germany. A member of a proud mining family and of the Borussia Dortmund soccer club, she was also the daughter of avid art lovers who dragged all three kids mercilessly through any sacred ruin in Southern France and Spain in the summer, which formed her religious imagination. Registered for Med-School she went to Australia. During that time she had the gift to live with Aborigines in the Northern Territory, who changed her German mind for ever, with their spiritual perception of the desert, bush and rainforest. Upon returning she steeped herself in studying everything but medicine: political science, comparative religion, psychology and theology. At the end of an anti-war rally that she organized in those years she stumbled with her thousands other members of the manifestation upon a peace prayer led by Verbum Dei missionaries in the cathedral of, Germany’s then capital, Bonn. A long, beautiful and unique journey began for her with the Verbum Dei. Nowadays, she still loves nature, especially the ocean, is steeped into the science and humanity of healing, has been teaching many years hermeneutics to doctoral students (seminarians, religious and lay) from around the world at the GTU/JST in Berkeley, CA and other places, often prays with a ‘slow camera' in her hand and continues to be amazed and grateful for the charism Verbum Dei, in which she feels so deeply called, and that gives her the opportunity in the diverse retreat ministries to connect her silent loving relationship with God with the manifold expression the Word of God invites each member of the human family to unfold towards a fuller and holier life and a more reconciled world. She commutes between San Francisco, Berkeley and Tracy, CA.
Rosalía has been a member of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity for 21 years. Before joining the Verbum Dei community, she was an educational consultant in her native Mexico as well as in Brazil and Columbia. She describes that God radically changed the direction of her “ok life" when she encountered an alive and loving God that promised her a life to the full. She fell in love with a God that seduced her to explore the deep meaning to her life and led her to perceive the transcendence that each one of our lives have. She currently lives in Long Beach, CA. and works at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as Director of Religious Education. She enjoys the nature, loves to swim, dance, and watch movies.
Gaby was born in León, Gto. Mexico. She met the Verbum Dei community when she was studying Biology-Pharmacy-Chemistry. After working for a year as a chemist, she experienced the call to follow Jesus and consecrated her life in this charism of prayer and ministry of the Word. She has lived in Belgium and Spain. During her nine years in Spain she was the director for our beautiful and busy retreat center hidden in the hills outside Siete Aguas, Valencia, Spain. She has worked mostly with teenagers and young adults and is currently working in the campus ministry at San Francisco State University as well as teaching in the theology program in Spanish in the Arch Diocese of San Francisco. She currently lives in Daly City and can often be seen on long runs at the beach or around the neighborhood.
Yolanda was born in Mexico. She currently lives in Sacramento, CA where she works in el Ministero Hispano, forming leaders from the Gospel. It is a real gift for Yolanda to witness the power that preaching of the Word of God has in families, young people etc. She also gives classes of Bible and Theology, leads conferences in different groups and parishes. She loves her missionary work of helping people to know the Word of God, as Saint Paul says, “announcing the Word of God” to everyone who needs it. She is convinced that the power and influence of los Medios de Comunicación, and for this reason she coloborates in the programs of Radio Verbum Dei as well as a program in Radio Santísimo Sacramento. Her vocation began in Oakland, Ca and celebrates 40 years of consecrated life. She has worked as a missionary in Spain, Rome, USA, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. She completed her License in Dogmatic Theology at the Gregorian Univerity, trained in the “Ejercicios Espirituales” Ignacianos, and completed her Masters in Missiology and Medios de Comunicación.